June 9, 2018 at 12:54PM


How do I get out of a rut?

I really don’t know if this is a rut or if it’s just me not being able to get myself off the ground with my filmmaking.
I am a student who is interested in filmmaking and writing. I have had tons of stellar ideas, but none of them are producible. I lack big-budget resources and I don’t even think zero budget is the word to describe it. I’ll have a great idea that’s able to be made, but then I either have negative thinking about it (it’s not good enough, it’s a flop, no one will be interested) or it just seems... gross. Like a food that was once appetizing but no longer is. I don’t want to complain but I do not have the locations I want, everything I do have doesn’t fit my plots, my stories are too involved, and I don’t even know any actors! I feel stuck and lost. I want my ideas realized but I don’t know how. It’s really upsetting and I feel like I don’t have the resources to make anything good. I KNOW I might have to make bad things first but I’m trying really hard to make something quality. Plus, I can’t write a good short film because the stories are too involved: I feel like I need a concrete story for everything. Should I go freeform? Abstract? I have a great DSLR camera, tripod, and shotgun mic sitting right next to me but I can’t pull it out without self-doubt creeping in.


Been there several times. It passes. What works for me is instead of trying to shoot a complete thing, I concentrate on pinning down 2 minutes in something quite technical. For example; how many things I don't know how to do well. Shoot two minutes a day as practice. After a week the rut feels less deep and I've learned something. No one needs to see it. Ruts get solved the moment we become specific. If ever I have just a general idea I always end up making something shit. Be specific, be honest be precise for two minutes a day. It helps me.

June 12, 2018 at 10:16AM, Edited June 12, 10:16AM

giles smith
Director & writer

This is very helpful! I appreciate this a lot and it's definitely something I want to try.

Madeline Leeah

June 14, 2018 at 10:06AM

Follow the Filmmaker Freedom podcast...lots of great stuff directly dealing with this.


June 13, 2018 at 3:52AM

John Haas

Thank you!

Madeline Leeah

June 14, 2018 at 10:07AM

Madeline, we hear you! This is such a common feeling. We answered your question (or at least gave some tips from our own experience) on the podcast this week! https://nofilmschool.com/2018/06/indie-film-weekly-061418-podcast

June 14, 2018 at 8:43AM

Liz Nord
Documentary Filmmaker/Multi-platform Producer

Amazing advice that could not have come at a better time. Thank you so, so, much, Charles and Liz- I am feeling encouraged and ready to move forward.

Madeline Leeah

June 15, 2018 at 5:49AM

Your Comment